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Neurosci Res. 2013 Sep-Oct;77(1-2):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2013.07.005. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

Mitochondrial ferritin in neurodegenerative diseases.

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Molecular Neuroscience Research Center, Shiga University of Medical Science, Seta Tsukinowa-cho, Otsu 520-2192, Japan; Department of Neurosurgery, 1st Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150001, China.


Mitochondrial ferritin (FtMt) is a novel protein encoded by an intronless gene mapped to chromosome 5q23.1. Ferritin is ubiquitously expressed; however, FtMt expression is restricted to specific tissues such as the testis and the brain. The distribution pattern of FtMt suggests a functional role for this protein in the brain; however, data concerning the roles of FtMt in neurodegenerative diseases remain scarce. In the human cerebral cortex, FtMt expression was increased in Alzheimer's disease patients compared to control cases. Cultured neuroblastoma cells showed low-level expression of FtMt, which was increased by H2O2 treatment. FtMt overexpression showed a neuroprotective effect against H2O2-induced oxidative stress and Aβ-induced neurotoxicity in neuroblastoma cells. FtMt expression was also detected in dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and was increased in patients with restless legs syndrome, while FtMt had a protective effect against cell death in a neuroblastoma cell line model of Parkinson's disease. FtMt is involved in other neurodegenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), with an FtMt gene mutation identified in AMD patients, and Friedreich's ataxia, which is caused by a deficiency in frataxin. FtMt overexpression in frataxin-deficient cells increased cell resistance to H2O2 damage. These results implicate a neuroprotective role of FtMt in neurodegenerative diseases.


Alzheimer's disease, Restless legs syndrome; Iron; Oxidative stress; Substantia nigra; Transition metal

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